Monday, January 19, 2015

10 books to live in for 2015


"Live for a while in these books, learn from them what you feel is worth learning, but most of all love them.  This love will be returned to you thousands upon thousands of times, whatever your life may become – it will, I am sure, go through the whole fabric of your becoming, as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."  ~Rainer Marie Rilke

I have always had an affection for language.  Words, in any tongue, strung together to form beautiful phrases and touch deep places within me, compose an art form that weaves a lingering something.  They remain long after my mind has digested them.  And so, I have always loved to write, and to read, and long ago I decided not to read things that didn't feed my spirit, my heart, and my mind.  There has to be a reason.  There must be growth.  There needs to be pondering.  Or I will set it aside and seek something else to share my time.

I am committing to a goal of 30 books in 2015.  This does not include the Berenstain Bears, or even the Ralph S. Mouse variety of reading, though I love the books my children and I share together.  Instead I want to grow this year into books that have whet my appetite by their title, subject, and/or recommendation.  And though I've put 30 on my list, these are the ten that I am perhaps most excited about.

The Sound of Paper: {Julia CameronI am in the midst of The Artist's Way now, and have been inspired in my creative life to break boundaries and walls of my own making.  I am anticipating this more personal extension and hope it continues along this path of fulfillment and artistic inspiration.

The Cloister Walk: {Kathleen Norris} It wasn't until recently that I began to understand the draw for protestants to the mystery and depth of the life of the Catholic and mystic saints of centuries ago.  My faith life has been nothing if not surprising to me in the way it has meandered and stumbled and eventually bloomed into something more vibrant and soft than I've ever experienced before.  A large part of this metamorphosis has happened through the writings of authors such as Henri Nouwen, St. Teresa of Avila, and Thomas Merton.  Kathleen Norris' journey into this different life through stays in a monastery is fascinating to me and this is one book I am looking forward to immensely.

Daring Greatly: {Brene Brown} While Brene Brown's style of writing is not as much of a draw for me, her research and her heart are.  I read The Gifts of Imperfection and nodded and sighed my way through the "this is so me" revelations throughout.  I have high hopes for this book as well.

To Kill a Mockingbird: {Harper Lee} How I got through high school without reading this, I have no idea.  But since I purchased it for my son to read for his homeschool co-op class, I thought it was time.  And it satisfies my desire to read at least one classic each year. {Box checked.}

The Gift: {Hafiz} Poetry is not something that I read terribly often, but it is definitely a genre and way of experiencing life that I love to get into every now and then.  I have never read more than a few bits and pieces of this mystic poet, but I'm looking forward to the chance to dig in.

Learning to Walk in the Dark: {Barbara Brown Taylor} Last year I read Leaving Church and An Altar in the World, both of which left me aching from their beautiful language and raw honesty.  We don't often speak in the church of the little deaths along the path of faith.  And if we aren't experiencing little deaths, then I dare to suggest that we are not, perhaps, living an authentic thriving faith in the first place.  Barbara Brown Taylor speaks to this deep and yet not often shared truth.

A Timbered Choir: {Wendell Berry} I have seen quotes by Mr. Berry here and there scattered on friends' blogs and social media pages, and each time they make me catch my breath, and just sit with them for a while.  So his collection of Sabbath Poems have made my list for 2015.

Teach us to Want: {Jen Pollock Michel} This intrigues me.  This title, the spiritual topic of desire, and the promise of being led to understand how God wants to use the passions and wants he has placed inside me.  I am highly anticipating this one.

Escaping into the Open: {Elizabeth Berg} Probably one of the best books of my 2014 was Ms. Berg's The Pull of the Moon.  It was stunning.  And so, of course, I want to read what she says about writing.  Of course. 

Big Magic: {Elizabeth Gilbert} Another book on creativity, a topic that is always intriguing to me.  This will not be coming out until September, but I'm looking forward to reading it alongside a group of creative friends.

What are you reading this year?  Have you set goals, jotted down ideas, joined a book club?  I'd love to hear...

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  1. Some really lovely titles here!

    You might consider starting with Wendell Berry book of poems called The Country of Marriage. *I* like it so much more than the Sabbath poems.

    Here's a link to more of my Berry recommendations:

    Peace keep you.

    1. Thanks for the link! I'll check out your Berry recommendations.

  2. Big Magic is on my list as well! I am in the middle of Daring Greatly now and would like to follow it with The Gifts of Imperfection. You may enjoy these lectures given by Barbara Brown Taylor- they are as lovely as her writing!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Looking forward to checking these out. :)